Legends of Western Cinema Week – The Big Trail (1930)

This is part of the Legends of Western Cinema Week Blog Celebration being hosted by Hamlette of Hamlette’s Soliloquy, Heidi of Along the Brandywine, and Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell

Tnx for letting me partake Ladies, this was sooo much fun!

“When a man begins to do a lot of talking about hanging, he better make pretty sure as to who is going to decorate the end of the rope.” – Zeke

Number of Times Seen – 1 (21 Jul 2021)

Brief Synopsis – A trapper leads a large group of settlers across the plains to new country while keeping an eye on some villains.

My Take on it – This was the film debut of an unknown actor named John Wayne who went on to having a stellar career.

The story is told quite well but the best part of this film is the cinematography which is astounding to watch especially given when this film was made.

Many of the tropes used in the movie have been used and reused so many times in Westerns that it’s hard to know where they originated, but regardless, it manages to drag things down a bit here because of it.

The action scenes are shot well too and despite things not feeling too unique here, they do a fine job with the story as it plays out in ways that seem predictable, but still give the viewer a few surprises along the way.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Incredibly, six different versions of this film were shot simultaneously: (1) a 70mm version in the Grandeur process for exhibition in the biggest movie palaces, (2) a standard 35mm version for general release, (3) a 35mm alternate French-language version La piste des géants (1931)’, (4) a 35mm alternate Spanish-language version La gran jornada (1931), (5) a 35mm alternate German-language version Die große Fahrt (1931), and (6) a 35mm alternate Italian-language version Il grande sentiero (1931). The four alternate-language versions were shot with (mostly) different casts. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)


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One thought on “Legends of Western Cinema Week – The Big Trail (1930)

  1. It’s been years since I saw this, but I remember thinking it was quite watchable. I know it was a big flop when it was released, which sent Wayne back to the B-pictures for a long time, but I’ve seen much, much less-enjoyable A-list westerns, so I don’t know why people didn’t like it at the time. Maybe it just cost a lot, with the multiple formats and all, and failed to make back what it cost? Hmm.


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